The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXVI
No. 4
Cover
July/August
2010

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ARIZONA

Family Wins Round Two

Case: Loudermilk Family v. Administration for Children, Youth and Families
Filed: 3/3/06

by Darren A. Jones

In a federal lawsuit filed March 3, 2006, and reported previously in the Home School Court Report (see the January/February 2008 issue), HSLDA sued two child protective service (CPS) workers who showed up at the Loudermilk family’s door accompanied by numerous sheriff's deputies, two months after an anonymous tipster had reported the family.

After winning the first round of the lawsuit almost three years ago, when the judge ruled not to dismiss the family's claims against the CPS workers, HSLDA has been fighting the state’s attempt to have the caseworkers declared immune from litigation. The state argued that the family had voluntarily allowed the investigators into the home—ignoring the fact that one of the caseworker had threatened to remove the children for 72 hours if the parents did not permit entry!

On March 31, 2010, the judge denied the state’s motion for summary judgment, stating, “The disputed questions of fact on these [consent] issues . . . preclude summary judgment.” He ruled that a jury must determine whether the Loudermilks were coerced by the CPS investigators and sheriff’s deputies.

“We are grateful that the judge is taking this matter seriously and making sure that a family’s right to be together is protected,” said HSLDA Staff Attorney Darren Jones. “The Loudermilks are doing a service to all families by their willingness to stand up against unjustified state intervention, not just at the initial contact, but for the four years this case has been going on.”

NEW YORK

School Backs off on Special Needs Evaluation

Case: M Family v. East Northport Union Free School District
Filed: 2/24/10

by Nicholas Bolzman

Up until this past February, Luke Miller (name changed to protect privacy) was enrolled in public school. And he might have remained there, had the school not suddenly begun to evaluate Luke for special needs without the consent of his parents. Since they wished to meet any special needs privately, that action convinced Mr. and Mrs. Miller to withdraw him from school and begin homeschooling, so they filed the necessary paperwork.

The school, however, was reluctant to let Luke go. Believing that continued evaluations were necessary and that it had authority to force the evaluations, the public school initiated a due process hearing to force the family to comply.

The family quickly turned to HSLDA for help. When we contacted the school's attorney, he pointed to the New York Department of Education decision in a previous New York case that addressed the same question. However, he was apparently unaware that HSLDA had appealed that very decision to federal court, which led to a ruling clarifying that public schools do not have authority to force homeschooling parents to consent to evaluations. (See “Long-awaited Victory in Special Needs Case,” May/June 2007 Court Report.) Simultaneously, HSLDA had successfully lobbied Congress to amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to preserve the parental freedom to decline evaluations.

After reviewing the documents we sent, the school conceded and decided to withdraw its due process request. In just over three weeks from the school’s initial filing, the hearing request had been withdrawn and the family was free to homeschool without interference.

Pending Cases

AL B Family v. Social Security Administration

CA L Family v. Social Security Administration

CA M Family v. County of San Bernardino

CA S Family v. County of Los Angeles

DC In re: DP

FL B Family v. Florida High School Athletic Association

HI A Family v. Department of Veterans Affairs

IN S Family v. Social Security Administration

KS In re: A & CC

MA Attleboro Public Schools v. S Family

MI In re: T Family

NY In re: B Family

NY New York v. C Family

OH Ohio v. V Family

PA Newborn v. Franklin Regional School District

TX K Family v. Social Security Administration

WA F Family v. Department of Veterans Affairs


About the author

Nicholas Bolzman is a litigation assistant at HSLDA.